If you thought that Facebook already copied every Snapchat feature possible, Facebook Stories have now made a debut in the Facebook app. The company announced that users can now share creative photos and videos with their friends on Facebook, directly from the top of the newsfeed in the app. The company however has not simply rolled out yet one more Snapchat-like feature to the feed. It made a big move on what is essentially Snapchat’s big idea: putting camera at the heart of storytelling.
Together with Facebook Stories roll out to the main Facebook app, the company has introduced the new Facebook camera that will “do the talking” for you.
The new Facebook camera that talks on your behalf
To access the new Facebook camera and create a Facebook story, a user has to swipe to the right from the app’s home screen or tap a camera icon in the top left corner of the Facebook app. Once the story is created and posted, it’s displayed at the top of the Facebook app, where one can also watch friends’ stories.
The Facebook camera offers dozens of effects including masks, frames and interactive filters that users can add to photos and videos. (If you are an active Snapchat user this is nothing new.) Users can also “interact with dynamic objects” (talk Snapchat’s world lenses) and add artistic filter to videos in real time (Snapchat offers a variety of artistic filters that you can apply to photos and videos stored in Memories).
Facebook has also announced partnership with movie production companies around the upcoming movies (including Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, Smurfs: The Lost Village and Wonder Woman) and visual artists (Douglas Coupland and Hattie Stewart) offering a variety of creative effects.
Why, Facebook, why?
While Facebook previously said that they don’t shy away from the fact that they like and copy Snapchat features, in its blog post announcing the new updates, Facebook gave credit to Instagram for the fun interactive video format. Facebook Product Manager Connor Hayes said: “The Instagram community has shown us that it can be fun to share things that disappear after a day, so in the main Facebook app we’re also introducing Facebook Stories, which lets you share multiple photos and videos as part of a visual collection atop News Feed. Your friends can view photos or videos your story for 24 hours, and stories won’t appear on your Timeline or in News Feed unless you post them there, too”.
We can play this game and pretend that Snapchat never existed and Facebook came up with Stories, but it’s hard to do that when it’s the fun photo and video messaging that made Snapchat so popular when it launched.
At a recent event in San Francisco I asked Gary Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer at Facebook why, why, why the company is doing this, and Gary simply said that Facebook has never been shy about how much they like the way Snapchat is doing with video and that short video is the way people will continue communicating in the future.
Will frantically developing Snapchat clones and slapping them across various products (Instagram, Whatsapp and now Facebook) help Facebook stay ahead of the competition? Facebook might have a first-mover advantage and huge user base around the world, but so far it’s playing a catch-up game with Snapchat. In the meantime Snapchat is making it easy for users to message their best friends via Snapchat, expand discovery and has a bunch of hardware products in the making.
This story is not over
Designer Rafael Conde has recently gone viral with his tweets about the stories spreading through all the platforms and devices we use. Settings Stories! Slack Stories! Music Stories! Map Stories! You name it.
It was all fun and games for Rafael till Facebook has now rolled out its Facebook Stories in the Facebook app.
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